Image Source: https://www.miamiherald.com/
The moment seemed to capture the super-heated emotions of a summer of national protest: A young Black teenager whacked a Miami police officer over the head with a skateboard during a chaotic demonstration.
The social-media jury, predictably, was outraged and divided. Either the kid was a thug who ought to be thrown behind bars or the cop, who also happened to be Black, was part of an oppressive force inflaming what had been a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration.
But five months later, maybe a lesson — and a little hope — has emerged from the violent clash between 17-year-old Michael Marshall and Miami Police Office Raymon Washington. A few weeks ago, Washington agreed to meet Marshall in a conference room at the Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse.
Marshall, a standout Northwestern High football player who had never before been in trouble, wept as he read a letter of apology, then peppered the officer with questions about police work. Washington, at 27 just a decade older, shared that he had suffered a major concussion in the attack, only the latest in over a dozen dating back to his own days of playing football.
They talked. They listened. They found some common ground. And against the odds, Washington and Marshall have since formed a friendship and bond, the officer now a mentor to the kid that struck him.